It was the 20th of January 2016 when I found out that my mother was mentally ill. It broke my heart. She was taken to hospital but nothing changed, my mother’s sisters thought that maybe she was bewitched and they took her to a sangoma (witch doctor) but nothing changed. We tried everything; we even took her to churches but her condition remained the same.

After that my life changed completely. I had to adapt to living with her in that condition, I was only 15 years old doing grade 10 during that time. I had to grow up quickly, I used my grant money to buy all the house necessities even though it was not enough.

I know the pain of going to sleep hungry, I also know the pain of going to school without pocket money and sometimes I wouldn’t even afford to buy sanitary pads. Life was hard, I had no support from the family elders, it was just me and my sick mom.

In 2017 I had to repeat grade 11 because I couldn’t deal with the stress, it was so hard to concentrate at school but at the end of that second year I passed the grade. In 2019 I was doing grade 12, I told myself that I was going to work hard and pass with good grades so that I could go to university or college but my dreams were shattered into pieces again.

I was 19 years old so I could no longer earn grant money and things became harder than before. But I tried to concentrate on my studies and I got my matric certificate but I couldn’t get into college because of finances. I found myself taking an unexpected gap year.

Life sometimes isn’t fair, I keep asking myself why me? Why do all these things have to keep happening to me? Who have I ever wronged to deserve this?

Hopefully next year I will be able to go and further my studies.


Tell us: What advice would you offer the writer so they could continue their studies?